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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Fatty acid composition of lipids in pot marigold (Calendula officinalis L.) seed genotypes

Francisc V Dulf, Doru Pamfil, Adriana D Baciu* and Adela Pintea

Author Affiliations

University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Manastur 3-5, Cluj-Napoca, 400372, Romania

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Chemistry Central Journal 2013, 7:8  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-8

Published: 17 January 2013



Calendula officinalis L. (pot marigold) is an annual aromatic herb with yellow or golden-orange flowers, native to the Mediterranean climate areas. Their seeds contain significant amounts of oil (around 20%), of which about 60% is calendic acid. For these reasons, in Europe concentrated research efforts have been directed towards the development of pot marigold as an oilseed crop for industrial purposes.


The oil content and fatty acid composition of major lipid fractions in seeds from eleven genotypes of pot marigold (Calendula officinalis L.) were determined. The lipid content of seeds varied between 13.6 and 21.7 g oil/100 g seeds. The calendic and linoleic acids were the two dominant fatty acids in total lipid (51.4 to 57.6% and 28.5 to 31.9%) and triacylglycerol (45.7 to 54.7% and 22.6 to 29.2%) fractions. Polar lipids were also characterised by higher unsaturation ratios (with the PUFAs content between 60.4 and 66.4%), while saturates (consisted mainly of palmitic and very long-chain saturated fatty acids) were found in higher amounts in sterol esters (ranging between 49.3 and 55.7% of total fatty acids).


All the pot marigold seed oils investigated contain high levels of calendic acid (more than 50% of total fatty acids), making them favorable for industrial use. The compositional differences between the genotypes should be considered when breeding and exploiting the pot marigold seeds for nutraceutical and pharmacological purposes.

Calendula officinalis L.; Conjugated linolenic acids; Pot marigold; Seed oils; Fatty acids; Polar lipids; Triacylglycerols; Sterol esters; GC-MS

Graphical abstract